It is with great pleasure that I write this article for our partner, SCHOOL BUS FLEET magazine. In my initial article for the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s (NAPT) News & Views [see November 2005 issue, pg. 18, or click here], I wrote about what the NAPT Board of Directors will do for our membership. Now, I will share with you what our membership can do to best utilize the resources available.
NAPT is an organization filled with many individuals who are dedicated to safety. When we look at safety, there are many facets to our jobs that, when combined, result in the safe transportation of our “precious cargo.” As your professional organization, it is our responsibility to provide you with all of the latest technology, all of the cutting edge management skills and all of the training necessary to make you better at what you do.
We must stay focused on our mission, and NAPT must supply the resources that will keep our membership energized. We will focus on and highlight the following resources that are important to our growth:
For more information on membership, look to our Website (www.napt.org) and, as always, feel free to call your officers or Board of Directors (who are all listed on the Website). Mark the dates now for NAPT’s 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Show: Nov. 5-9, 2006, in Kansas City, Mo.
The work of our committees not only provides added strength to our organization — it also provides the vehicles that have already made our day-to-day operations run more efficiently. One case in point involves our NAPT Certification Program. The Board of Directors has made it a priority to complete the course design so that more members will be able to avail themselves of critical issue courses leading to NAPT Certification. Realizing too that not all of our members can attend our annual conference, we, as the Board of Directors, will work to develop ways of bringing information to you. One example is that I have charged the Professional Development Committee to offer the certification course of study in an online application as well. More information will follow in this column.
Another very important committee is our Strategic Planning Committee. All strong organizations commit major time and effort into developing and implementing strategic long-range planning. In my opening News & Views article, I set as a board goal that we will “review and renew” our strategic policy. In fact, I called it monumental.
Our Board of Directors will be meeting in February and will hold a strategic planning session. Again, our best resources are our members. All strategic plans, once developed, are then assigned to the appropriate committees for action.
Remember that NAPT is your association! Without your involvement, our planning cannot move forward. To that end, please visit the NAPT Website to explore the committees that would welcome your involvement, and look to this column in the next issue of SCHOOL BUS FLEET to find out how you will make a difference in the future of NAPT. Until then, keep in touch!
— LENNY BERNSTEIN
The certification program, established in 1989, recognizes the achievements and expertise of individuals in administrative and support positions. The four categories are: Certified Director of Pupil Transportation, Certified Supervisor of Pupil Transportation, Certified Pupil Transportation Specialist and Certified Pupil Transportation Driver Instructor.
Certification has been based on the individual’s experience and achievements, but the NAPT Certification Subcommittee is shifting the focus from experience-based to knowledge-based requirements.
“It will be more like a college course of study,” said NAPT President Lenny Bernstein. Currently, candidates who meet experienced-based benchmarks must pass a lengthy exam to become certified, but the Certification Subcommittee is reviewing the possibility of adding coursework to the requirements. “Combining the two concepts will add an additional base of knowledge and ensure that our people are well prepared for the daily demands of each job,” Bernstein said.
The NAPT is also enhancing its Professional Development Series (PDS) Program by adding more courses. Currently, the program includes 17 courses, but the PDS Subcommittee wants to develop another 20 or so courses in the next two years.
“At our board meeting in Austin, we voted to finish the remaining courses as quickly as possible,” Bernstein said. “We’re evaluating our budget and discussing a timeline with PTSI [Pupil Transportation Safety Institute] to see how fast we can get them done.”
Subject areas of courses that have been offered include financial management, human resources management, operations/systems management, leadership and special education.
At the NAPT conference in Austin, the series courses included Budget Development, Overseeing a Fleet Maintenance Program, Business Writing, Managing Human Resources and Personal Skills for Management.
The courses are currently offered via classroom instruction at national, regional and state pupil transportation conferences. Instructors follow an NAPT-approved syllabus. The PDS Subcommittee is evaluating online training options and is close to finalizing a deal to provide college credit for completed classes.
“Professional development and training have always been our hallmark,” Bernstein said. “We’re going to take an aggressive stance on this to send a message to potential competitors and ensure that we remain in the forefront.”